No matter your rank or intentions to climb the ladder, certain skills are essential for success in the workplace.
One of those skills is assertiveness, which can help you get promotions and say no to unpleasant tasks.
Leaders who have a high level of assertiveness and judgment have a 71% chance of being rated a top leader. How do you get there? By learning the line between being assertive (good) and aggressive (bad).
- Assess Your Leadership Style
Before you can be more assertive and improve your leadership skills, you need to recognize who you are as a leader.
Many leaders face the issue of their team fearing versus loving them. Respect lies somewhere in the middle.
As a leader, you’ll have a lot of responsibilities on your plate. Not everyone will react positively to each decision you make. However, your team might still respect that you know best when making these decisions.
It’s easy to accidentally become a “bad” boss. Sometimes, our emotions get the better of us. This causes us to lash out with shouting and scolding as a way of “leading.”
However, this can cause your team to lose your respect. Instead, they’ll shift toward the “fear” side of the spectrum. They might even start to see you as an ineffective leader who is detrimental to the company as a whole.
Look over how you’ve managed your team so far. What’s your leadership style?
Feel free to ask yourself:
- Do I take other people’s suggestions?
- Am I more concerned with assignments revenue than the team?
- Am I confidence?
- Am I quick to blame others?
- Do people fear talking to me?
- Do I say yes to more work when I’m already busy?
- Do I stay silent instead of voicing my opinion?
Once you determine the type of leader you are today, determine the type you want to become.
- Get Organized
Now that you know what kind of leader you are, it’s time to get organized.
Organization is essential to becoming a more assertive leader. When you’re organized, you can keep track of employees and assignments.
Otherwise, your scattered focus and messy environment could turn into frustration.
This could cause you to turn toward aggressive, rather than assertive, responses.
Don’t “suggest” or “recommend” tasks to your team. Instead, get everything organized either online or in a binder. For example, you can create a digital folder in your company’s shared drive to develop a timeline for each project.
Remind the team what goals you’re trying to accomplish. At the same time, make it clear that they can ask you for help.
By getting organized, you can be more assertive as you lead your team to victory.
Then, they’ll know they can ask you for help (instead of fearing you) if a problem arises.
- Use “I” Statements
To be more assertive in the workplace, practice using “I” statements.
These statements allow others to know what you’re thinking or feeling. Otherwise, you might unintentionally sound accusatory, which can invoke fear.
For example, use the words, “I disagree,” instead of “You’re wrong.”
You can also try, “I need your help with this project,” instead of “You need to do this now.”
As you use “I” statements, make sure to keep each request specific, yet simplistic.
- Just Say No
Sometimes, the inability to turn down requests when you’re already busy can make you seem like a pushover. Passive people often end up getting taken advantage of.
Instead, practice saying no. Don’t hesitate with your answer. Make sure to keep any explanations brief.
Otherwise, you might find it difficult to build an assertive personality.
- Use Body Language
According to the Mayo Clinic, being assertive can also help us control our stress and anger while improving communication and coping skills. However, communication isn’t always verbal.
To be more assertive at work, show people you’re confident, rather than needing to say it.
Keep your spine straight and lean forward a little. Maintain eye contact when you speak. Keep a neutral or positive expression.
Make sure not to cross your arms or legs, either. Both can come off as aggressive or defensive.
For extra help, consider taking a personal development course to become more assertive at work.
- Know What You Want
If you have a hard time asserting yourself, practice what you want to say beforehand aloud.
It can also help to write the words down and create a script.
Try roleplaying with a friend. Ask for their feedback so you can learn how to improve stating what you want or think.
- Actively Listen
To become a stronger, more assertive leader, it’s also important to listen to your team members. Don’t interrupt. Instead, imagine where they’re coming from.
Active listening can help you understand their point of view.
- Manage Emotions
In order to be more assertive and earn respect, you need to consider your emotional intelligence quotient. Becoming empathetic and learning how to express your emotions can make you a better leader.
Try to remain calm. If you feel angry, frustrated, or teary, take a breath. Becoming emotional won’t help resolve conflict.
- Start Small
You likely won’t become more assertive in a day. That’s okay. Sometimes, it helps to start small.
Start with situations that are low risk. Afterward, evaluate how you did and how you can improve.
- Keep Practicing
If you’re struggling to be more assertive, keep practicing. Try scenarios where you need to say no or work on problem-solving without conflict. Ask another co-worker or friend to help through roleplaying.
After all, practice makes perfect.
Assert Yourself: 10 Tips to Be More Assertive at Work
Ready to start asserting yourself? With these 10 tips, you can be more assertive at work. It’s time to achieve your full potential as a leader in the workplace!
Looking for more tips and tricks? Explore the Career section of the blog for more helpful guides!